Ann Esselstyn’s Safe Food List…No Oil Vegan

Unknown-1Lately, I have been trying to tighten up my vegan diet by following the recommendations of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. As you may know, Dr. Esselstyn recommends eliminating or severely limiting oils and fats from a whole food plant-based diet. Since my cholesterol levels are good and I am healthy, I am not shooting for total elimination of fats and oils. I have decided to cut out handfuls of nuts, pull back on consumption of oils (even olive oil), limit the quantity of avocados I eat, and use nut butters sparingly. This past week, I have been using a little balsamic vinegar (no oil) on my salads which I have been enjoying.

As I am writing this post, I am baking Engine 2’s One-Dish Baked Oatmeal Crisp

Rip Esselstyn's One-Dish Baked Oatmeal Crisp

Rip Esselstyn’s One-Dish Baked Oatmeal Crisp

While searching online for some easy recipes, I came across this SAFE FOOD List by Dr. Esselstyn’s wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn. It is a NO OIL VEGAN list of food products which are approved by Dr. Esselstyn and his son, Rip, for the Engine 2 Diet. Since this list has come in so handy for me, I wanted to share the link.

Click here for Ann Crile Esselstyn’s SAFE FOOD list.

Did you know that you could make Banana Milk to be served over hot or cold cereal by blending 1 large ripe banana (peeled & sliced) with 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract? This is just one small tidbit of useful information I got from Ann Esselstyn’s list.

I was really pleased to see one of my favorite snacks of all-time on the list, Nature’s Path Manna Bread. Ann Esselstyn likes it double toasted!

Nature's Path Manna Bread

Nature’s Path Manna Bread

Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax Pizza Crust is also one of Ann Esselstyn’s recommendations, although this is not on her list because they have to be ordered online.

Sami's Bakery Millet & Flax Crust Pizza

Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax Pizza Crust

I am sure we can add Rip’s new Engine 2 product line to this list!

IMG_7368-560x420Thank goodness for dedicated doctors like Dr. Esselstyn and his very helpful family! I hope this list is as useful for you as it is for me.







  1. Debby: you know, I can accept and respect veganism — out of health concerns, animal welfare or just personal taste — and vegetarianism.

    I cannot accept a “no oil” diet. That is insane. No culture or society in the world eats a “no oil”, no fat diet. It is not humane. It would taste simply AWFUL, and over time, you will have dry skin, constipation, dry scalp, brittle dry hair and so on.

    Contrary to the fanaticism of the Esselstyn clan, you need SOME fats and oils in your diet — at least 10% — for health. Theirs is a very fanatical “breatharian” religious construct, which hates food and hates pleasure. They are no better than religious cults that despise sex (for many of the same reasons!).

    They are obsessed with thinness and life extension, and much of their “science” is easily debunked junk. Their recipes and cookbooks produce inedible results that give vegetarianism/veganism a bad name. They are fanatics. And yes — I’ve read the China Study, I’ve read the Engine No.2 books and watched “Forks Over Knives” — and I know hysterical, hyperbolic propaganda when I see it.

    Please do not buy into this. Anytime anyone comes out with such an extreme recommendation, be very cautious about accepting it as “fact”.

    • Truth be told, I have been unable to follow a “no oil” diet, so I try to limit it. However, the nutritional science supporting The China Study, Engine 2 Diet and Forks Over Knives is overwhelming and I take issue with your reference to “hysterical, hyperbolic propaganda.” They said that about Charles Darwin also with his theory of evolution.

      • Michelle says:

        Yes, and it is still a theory…

        • MarilynGreen says:

          Actually, I have followed a no oil vegan diet for more than five years, with tremendous benefits to my heart – my skin, my energy. And, far from being terrible and tasteless, I am now enjoying beanburgers on hamburger buns with ketchup, onion, tomato and lettuce along with oven fried, delicious cinnamon rolls nobody can tell from the ones with fat in them. Great lunch and my heart problems appear to be over.

          This “theory” has been tested and documented for decades under the wing of the Cleveland Clinic, by the way, and adopted by prestigious hospitals in New York and elsewhere.

    • Yikes…talk about hyperbolic! I think your rhetoric is a bit extreme!

      I’ve been on Dr. Esselstyn’s diet for right at a year now, and in addition to having perfectly normal skin, hair and scalp, I love food. The food I eat is fantastic and I don’t feel like I’m being robbed of anything. If I’m craving a burger, I make a black bean burger that I love. If I’m craving sweets, I eat some raspberry sorbet from Haagen-Dazs.

      I think you’re assuming that all I can eat is lightly washed earth vegetables and tree bark. Quite the contrary.

      I, um, like sex, too…I feel awkwardly obliged to mention.

      I started this diet because of my heart disease, and while you feel the science of it is “easily debunked,” my health numbers debunk your bunk! My cholesterol (TOTAL cholesterol) is 91, my blood pressure is regulating to the point that my cardiologist is backing me off my meds, I’ve lost almost 85 lbs. since I started, and I feel better than I have in years.

      He’s telling me I’ll see this disease reverse. I believe him…because he’s my doctor…and…training and all.

      It’s really okay if you don’t want to eat like a vegan…or if you don’t want to attempt Dr. Esselstyn’s version of it, but go easy on the name-calling. I’m sensitive! I might cry or something!

      • Wow! You have achieved some amazing results! I would love your black bean burger recipe! Keep up the amazing lifestyle. So impressive!

      • I’m not a vegan but im totally convinced. lives are being saved with the Dr’s way of eating. I’m with Doy, don’t call it a cult just because you disagree. nobody is being manipulated to eat this way. they are shown the studies and real people who’s lives have been spared. show me any other way that produces such results.
        kudos to this dr. and his family. im praying for strength to start this. im a black female with controlled hypertension, overweight(190) and fairly sedentary life with bad eating habits. no heart disease as im aware of but since heart disease is the number one killer in women, its important to start now.

      • I agree totally, eating pure like we were supposed to. there is nothing natural about eating innocent animals, processed food, and oils. Fats like olive oil, sesame oil, etc. are still processed. Fat is fat. And we get enough in nuts and other foods naturally.
        Trust me you learn how to eat and enjoy the flavors of food without covering it up if you just try this. I rejected the notion of not eating sauteed onions in oil. I made myself try sauteeing in water or veggie broth. Wow I am so glad I did. I love it and never even once missed the fat but I did enjoy all the flavors of my sauce.
        I was raised on butter and cheese on my brocoli, I don’t think in the history of my life did I ever ever once have it without at least a tad of butter. Now I even love potatoes without anything on it other than pepper.

        • Thank you for sharing. Once you adjust your mindset, these changes become easy.

        • I never liked cheese on veggies, but I did like the butter. A really good yummy thing for your potatoes is salsa on top. Sometimes I will just bake a potato for dinner and have some salsa on top for my dinner. That is enough food for a meal in itself. The thought of sautéing food in water kinda grosses me out, but I think I will try it.

      • Hi Doy,
        Been in Dr Esselstyne’s diet exclusively for 9 months and would like some of recipes that you have mentioned that follow Dr Esselstyne’s strict rules. I have been 100% faithful on this diet and would want to continue but need a few more ideas what to prepare. Thanks, Jason

    • Hyperbole refers to an overstatement of facts. Both the Esselstyn book at the China study were pretty straight forward in their presentation of the current research even pointing out its’ limitations. Comparing no-oil vegan to breathetarians is hyperbole in a nutshell. Although I trust my cardiologist in general I read the books and did a bit more research before I agreed that the data pointed toward being more believable than not. The studies weren’t huge but the data was convincing and there is no nothing to countermand their conclusions. I’m happy for those that enjoy no-oil veganism. I’m not among that crowd. I loathe it. For me, an midwesterner raised on ribs, pizza and macaroni and cheese from a family that owned a greasy spoon restaurant, I doubt I will ever enjoy it. But my cholesterol total is 79 and I’ve lost 95lb, half before and half after becoming vegan. My skin IS drier and it may be attributable in part to the diet but it’s also a known side effect of some of my meds.
      Now I have to grapple with whether to follow the advice of my cardiologist and the research or an unknown poster on the internet….Tough call.

      • Wow! You have achieved some incredible results with your health! I can’t thank you enough for this insightful comment. You clearly have some strong logical reasoning skills, and I don’t think you will have to grapple that much with whether to follow the advice of your cardiologist and the research or an unknown imposter on the Internet.

        • Sadly I didn’t read my post for grammatical errors but I do strive to remain free of hyperbole. The poster, however, was clearly a shill for the secret pizza cabal that rules the world through the dissemination of mozzarella cheese and extra virgin olive oil. I know because I used to be part of the society of oil eaters. Meeting are often held during Super Bowls where they remain hidden and their discussions impossible to discern due to the white noise coming from flat panels in their meeting rooms. I can attest there is much screaming and gnashing of teeth.

    • I have followed the Esselstyn diet for more than 6 years. It’s not “extreme.” (Bypass surgery is “extreme!”)

      Here are some reasons to consider “no oil.”

      Oil is highly refined, processed and extracted product. It is lacking in protein, carbohydrates and fiber (which we need).

      It is pure fat and calorie dense. Most are low in omega 3 (we may need more) and high in omega 6 (most of us need less).

      A lot of calories and scarce nutrients. It is just a junk food.

      I accept if you decide to eat it. I can’t fathom why you can’t be acceptable of the concept of ‘no oil’, whether or not you decide to adopt it.

    • Dr. Esselstyn’s eating plan is not fat free. It is oil free.They recommend 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed per day. I’m not sure if I hit reply at the right place, but I’m replying to the presumptuous post about hysteria and cultism. I think that person may be referring to the vegans who make in-your-face moral judgments about people who eat animal products. Dr. Esselstyn does nothing of the sort. He shows lab results and arteriograms that show clogged arteries that have become less clogged and remained less clogged over time, something medical science had previously “known” could not happen outside the operating room. I find it hysterical to go on a rampage against people who choose a different eating plan. If you don’t like it, don’t eat that way. Stress kills too, so chill out.

    • Patricia Levesque says:

      so sad for the ignorant people in the world who enjoy “bashing” true science

      • Dear Patricia,
        True but the more science backs up a plant-based diet, the stronger the arguments becomes and less deniable! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • It is “no REFINED vegetable oil” – and the pre-Columbian Central American indigenous peoples did not use refined vegetable oil of any kind, nor did North American Native Americans, Australian Aboriginals and others. You get plenty of fat/oil on this “eating lifestyle program” (not merely a diet) contained in the WHOLE foods that you eat, e.g. avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, grains & legumes. The dishes are primarily vegetables and greens flavored and seasoned with the higher fat whole foods, herbs and spices. I stopped eating handfuls of nuts because I incorporate them into my main meals now. I stopped using refined vegetable oils because it’s harmful to the epithelial cells lining the circulatory system; it’s unnecessary as it’s just as easy to saute with broth, cider, wine, beer, etc. and clean up is rinsing, not scrubbing the grease off pots, dishes, utensils. Dr. Esselstyn’s patients recover from heart disease eating this way so it works for some, it’s not just theory. I am following this to lower my cholesterol and avoid heart disease, and I’m losing weight, have more energy, and no more foggy thinking as side benefits. I know this is hard for some, people are really emotionally attached to their food, but it truly is beneficial.

      • Ron Grimes says:

        Having a stent put in your LAD artery and spending a couple days in ICU quickly removes your emotional attachment to food – especially if you don’t want that elephant coming back to sit on your chest. This diet is something I would have thought extreme before, but now, after watching “Forks Over Knives” and reading Dr. Esselstyn’s material, this makes a lot of sense. So far, it’s been easy to stick to his eating recommendations and I don’t feel deprived at all. One’s health improves on every single level: energy, lower cholesterol, sleeping better, losing weight, depression goes away, better ability to concentrate. The list goes on and on.

        As an aside, this is why I am so against universal healthcare. It encourages people to continue their crappy diets because they know aren’t solely responsible to pay the costs of their lifestyle choices. There is little incentive to find a cheaper way to maintain health. Here, you have a cost-free way that involves no drugs, gastric bypass surgeries, etc., to achieve optimum health. If everyone ate this way, there would be ZERO healthcare crisis. So, please don’t ask your neighbor to do more for your health than you yourself are willing to do through simple discipline of what you stick in your pie hole.

        There is no healthcare crisis! There is a willingness to eat right crisis!

    • Kay Woodworth says:

      This diet is saving my life. I do not have the side effects that you mention because in the foods and grains I eat I do get the fat I need. The ground flax seed I put in my morning oats has plenty of fat for me. Anyone who can get constipated eating the amount of fiber I eat daily would be amazing. I am now off of cholesterol medication, one of my diabetes medications, and have reduced doses of other medications after only 4 months of this way of eating.
      My doctor, who agreed for me to try this eating plan, said “Now your food is your medicine. You know if you quit eating this way, you will be right back on medications.”
      As for taste – I have found ways to make recipes that are appealing and acceptable to non vegans. It took a month for me to get over missing my old friends mayo and cheese, but since then I am on the flavor trail and have developed recipes that are satisfying and delicious.
      No oil ever tasted as good as my 47 pound weight loss, increased energy, and improved lab work.. I get compliments on my skin all the time. I am not dried up at all. I am not deprived – I eat frequently and as much as I want. Reversing disease processes caused by food, with food instead of chemicals is working for me. I ate my way into this mess, and I will eat my way out of it.

      • Hi Kay,
        Your email is one of the most inspiring and wonderful that we’ve received at Vegan American Princess! Thank you for spreading your message of determination and success! It will help motivate many people on similar journeys from sickness to wellness!!

  2. I just found your blog – I’m vegan, too. I still have to go through many of your posts, but glad to find it. I AM doing the no oil program, however, I am older and my cholesterol has been very, very high — fortunately, (fingers crossed), so far it has gone down with this program (I started January 1st 2013).

    This will be fun to go through your blog and see what you have. I have lots of other blogs bookmarked for recipes, but you have other information in addition to recipes. 🙂

    Thanks so much.

    • Welcome aboard Sharon! I’m glad to hear that you are on a no-oil plant-based program, and I hope you continue to have success with it. You should check out my post about “No-Oil Vegan Salad Dressings” because they may come in very handy for you. There are also quite a few no-oil recipes on the site. I’m pretty sure my vegan split-pea soup (under “Essential Vegan Soups”) and some others entrees are no-oil too…I think “Colleen’s Yellow Split Pea Dahl.” Please keep us informed as to how you are doing and feel free to contact us with any questions. We are very passionate about what we do!

  3. At 61yrs old I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease and it was suggested I become a no-oil vegan. I’ve been one now for 8 months with one transgression for Thanksgiving dinner. Short of that I am nearly 100% compliant. It’s particularly difficult for me. I loathe most vegetables. I have about three dinners that I eat over and over in spite of trying quite a few no oil vegan recipes. I’m not adverse to trying new vegan meals. My wife and I experiment regularly. Most of it is just thrown out. But I keep trying for the sake of my family. If, however, I were alone, I would choose to eat food I enjoyed and die sooner rather than live longer on this diet.

    • Our diets are personal choices each person must make for himself, but I give you a ton of credit for considering your family. I’m also impressed that your heart doctor suggested a no-oil vegan diet. He/she sounds progressive. There are so many great no-oil vegan recipe sites such as Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and Forks Over Knives which provide amazing recipes. Have you given them a try? There are many no-oil vegan recipes on this site too such as the Mushroom Marinara Sauce and the World’s Easiest Chili recipe (I’m pretty sure). Also the Adzuki Beans with Kabocha Squash and I think the Yellow Split Pea Dahl. I should gather VAP’s no-oil recipe and put them into one post.

    • It’s probably to late to comment but I did the Esselstyn diet for a year, lost lots of weight, felt good, but had to struggle with my social life, and it became impossible to travel! Since I’m NOT
      Bill Clinton, when I requested slight modifications in restaurants, all I usually got was a blank stare and little honest cooperation…. I wish the diet weren’t so stringent, but I found after falling off the wagon just a TINY bit, my cholesterol would go right back up! Wish there were an effective middle road! Did Santa stay on the diet?

      • Never too late to comment, Chris. So sorry it was so difficult for you. I actually agree with you that it could be very socially difficult. I actually wrote a blog post about it called “The Hardest Part About Being Vegan.” Don’t know about Santa!

  4. I’m ashamed to admit this but I secretly hate to cook….I live alone and am really trying to follow the no oil vegan way but are there foods I can find that I dont have to actually”put together” myself??.,,I will say I’m going to try the microwave potato chips though!!! Ive spent a week looking for the no oil baked corn chips…now I read theyre no longer available!!?? Oh well…

    • Hmmm! Good question. Engine 2 products do not contain oil. These include frozen grains, cereals, tortilla wraps, and a host of other pre-made foods. There are some great no-oil jarred marinara sauces too such as Walnut Acres. You could make simple pasta and pizza (no-oil crusts) meals with it. I would check out the Forks Over Knives website too. Fresh vegetables are easy to prepare with no oil. You can steam them or saute them in veggie broth or water. I have to admit that the no oil thing is tough. I sure that there are pre-made vegan soups with no oil too. Dr. McDougall makes great vegan products such as soups in cups and things like vegan Pad Thai, etc.

  5. LMDumizulu says:

    After almost 12 years of SHEER and Painful (emotionally) struggle, against a very personal sexual illness i stumbled on Dr Esselstyne”s information… within a week i was cured…. .MY HEALING KEY was on cleansing the ‘endothelium membranous walls of my body “plumb work” ~WITHIN A WEEK Just think of this 7 days compared to 12 years! Tell me nothing here against this no oil diet.. it works for me. i understand that generalizing healing by creating a single shot for all say a tablet is as useless and hoping that we should all be of the same height and body mass.. however if anything works well for you and gives you utmost pleasure in mental/spiritual state, health and relationships ADOPT THAT!

  6. Lovemore Mukwakwami says:

    Just finished reading Dr Esselstyne book and i thought of what the bible says….

    Genesis 1:29 ESV / 23 helpful votes

    And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. Also…Leviticus 7:23
    Say to the children of Israel: You are not to take any fat, of ox or sheep or goat, for food.
    However it would appear that historically when humans BEGAN to eat meat they also began to consume fat.. animal fat and in the progression of time began to use petrochemical fractionating of herbal and plant seed to oil….NOW before this change LONGEVITY was the norm … it would appear humans lived right into the hundreds READING of Genesis 5… and other archeological findings….SOON after the flood life shortened to merely 12o years vis vee 969 years prior… WHY?? i am sure Dr Esselstyne provided veritable clues here .. Plant based nutrition sustains longevity… I just hope it is clear so we may change and live long!!!!

    • Thank you so much for this insightful interpretation of the bible. From passages I’ve read, I believe that striving towards vegetarianism is the ultimate goal!

  7. Our family switched from omnivorous to no-oil vegan after my husband received a diagnosis of advanced colon cancer. Despite a sobering prognosis from the oncologist, he is now 3+ years cancer-free and the entire family has MUCH more energy than ever before. At my last annual physical, my doctor actually commented, “Your numbers are crazy good! You get healthier every year!!” All four of us (we have two teenagers) are involved in numerous sports and outdoor activities, and we find ourselves well able to meet all our nutritional needs through this diet. It is certainly a challenge to cut out oils, but it is not impossible. Taste buds change over time, and we’ve acclimated quite well. I would encourage anyone who wants to live long AND healthy to consider making the switch. We have no regrets!!

  8. rouges-herengs says:

    RE: Esselstyne diet. Book says coffee and tea ok, but he says caffeine bad. Says no nuts, but Almond milk recommended. Are these items OK or not OK?
    Thanks, Rouges

    • Mark Galanty says:


      Your reading of the book, and Dr. Esselstyn lectures and research, clearly agree with what you wrote.

      No Nuts, but yes to Almonds, Oats Milk, Cashew Milk, etc. No to Rice Milk (Due to the chemicals to extract the milk), yes to Soy. But read ingredients since some add bad ingredients.

      Yes to Coffee and Tea, but no to Caffeine. Note these rules are for people with heart disease and or high blood pressure. Keep the blood pressure lower with out added caffeine.

      Also, no to Avocado!.

  9. Me and my husband live on this diet for 4 years now, It saved my husband’s life. I feel a ton of energy, something I lacked before, I lost 30 pounds and I feel great. God Bless this great doctor and his wife for saving so many people. The diet is not hard and I didn’t have great dificulties eating with no oil. My biggest dificulty was eating no cheese, that took me a year to get used to. Thank you so much for your great books, I have every single one of them. I am European and I can’t live without cheese and oil especially olive oil and here I am living it for 4 years now, varicose veins dissapearred, I don’t have arrythimia and tachycardia no more, I feel great, full of energy and full of life. One big Thank you!

  10. And by the way this is not an extreme diet as the first person says. I grew up in Europe and that’s the normal diet. Here in America your SAD american diet blew me away. So much preservatives and fake ingredients in your food, so many colors, so much fried food and so much meat, I was speechless when I saw how much meat american people eat. So much fake stuff, and nothing real. Thank God for the great grocery stores where at least we can find a lot of produce.

  11. Just stumbled on this website and happy I did. But to the comment from 2013 Lola, I was on Dr Dean Ornish (virtually the same as Esselstyne/Campbell’s) for 3 years, lost 100lbs, went from being sedentary to working out running, weights, etc. I had more energy than I had ever had. My Dr said whatever I am doing stick with it. Well it was the no oil vegan diet that I was on. After 3 years, I met the love of my life and started to slide off of my no oil eating. and the weight started to come back, I lost motivation to work out etc. I am still a vegan and always will be, but I splurged too much on oil based foods, cookies etc. So now after seeing Forks over Knives, I am back to the no oil eating. There isn’t a thing in olive oil that’s healthy or good for you. I started using coconut oil but after this movie, I threw out the can. I am feeling so much better, already lost some lbs too. I’m so excited to be eating this way again when I felt so good. I do not have dry skin, dull hair and never did.
    Lola, its a shame you are so negative and am wondering why you even read this website if you just come on here to bash it. Maybe if you start eating better you’ll be a less negative person.

    • Dear Candy,
      We are glad that you feel better and healthier on the Ornish/Esselstyne/Campbell plan! So many people do! Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Vegan American Princess

  12. Patricia Levesque says:

    I just discovered this site and continue to discover more as I am transitioning to plant based diet. I am a 60 year old, active, retired RN with cardiovascular disease and decided after trying everything to change it, to get my cholesterol down, to get busy with Esselstyn’s well documented research and DO it! I have never felt better. Every day I discover new ways to overcome the urges that make me want to slip back to the “pleasure traps” that Doug Isle so identified. Thank you to all of you who have had the courage and tenacity to bring this valuable life giving option to anyone who dares to accept it!

    • Dear Patricia,
      Your bravery and spirit will no doubt inspire others to try to improve their cardiovascular disease with lifestyle and diet changes! Your comments motivate us to keep spreading the word!

    • Deborah Caswell says:

      Just got diagnosed with high blood pressure and have really bad outcomes on my dad’s side. I heard about the Dr. Esselstyn years ago but never thought that I would have to do it. I am totally freaked out about giving up eating all the food that I love but I need to figure out how to do this. Heart disease and vascular dementia on my dad’s side are terrifying.

  13. Bette Venkateswaran says:

    Thank you for all these valuable comments and suggestions on this website. I have just come across the Esselstyn program ,thanks to our daughter who is a recently graduated MD. I am 77 years old. I have high BP, which is being managed with medication. I have a pacemaker that was inserted a few years ago as I had arrythmia and tachycardia. I have now been having frequent angina, that is causing me to look at the Esselstyn program in a serious way, for I do not want to go the route of stenting as my cardiologist will steer me to, once I consult him with the increasingly uncomfortable symptoms.

    Could you please help me with my questions on the oil-free diet.

    I am vegetarian, born and raised in India and have grown up on the vegetarian cooking from the sub-continent. I do eat Kefir , yogurt and cottage cheese.
    I cook with small amounts of coconut oil and olive oil.
    Curries and vegetarian dishes with many different spices require the use of some oil. Is use of oil for minimal garnishing acceptable under this diet, or do you have any suggestions for how to cook curries without even this minimal amount of oil?
    Another challenge would be to get off yogurt and kefir, which I enjoy for the sour taste and the probiotics. I think that is manageable. It is the no-oil cooking that is going to be difficult.

    I would be thankful for any suggestions you have as I embark on this diet.

    • Mark Berlin says:

      I love Indian food! Some of the spice mixes you can get in supermarkets have nice recipes that can be made without any oil or dairy, including Rajma and Aloo Ghobi. My wife makes these quite often and they are very good. Some of the Mango Chutneys in the store are also made without oil.

      Also, check out the book No Oil Cooking by Sanjeev Kapoors for many additional recipes.

      I have been on the Esselstyn diet for 5 years, lost 50 pounds, and my total cholesterol is now 120 (it used to be 280).

      This diet does a little work to get used to but it is doable and works as advertised. I have found that you need to do exactly what Dr. Esselstyn says to keep your cholesterol numbers down. Even if I eat a small amount of cheese, they go bad.

      I hope that this was helpful.

    • For Bette: Dry roast the spices in a frying pan (low heat) until they’re fragrant and the flavor “blooms.” Probiotics can be found in kombucha, and water kefir (you can use coconut water to make it too). For the sour flavor, you can make cashew “sour cream” or a squeeze of lemon or lime. Also, kaffir lime leaves if you can find them (I have a dwarf tree) give a citrusy flavor to rice or sauces. I hope this is helpful.

  14. The No Oil +Vegan diet can only be followed if
    1. You live in a house with a kitchen. ( While travelling , I usually make do with a chinese restaurant , and ask for steamed brown rice with some sort of tofu curry, or more likely just dunk Very Veggie juice with some lime squeezed in , + Fat, Egg &Dairy free whole grain bread
    2. You have time to sort carefully and refine your shopping list
    3. You can quit the meat, dairy easily , giving up oil completely is far more difficult – I still squeeze in a few drops[Not Spoons!] of flax oil or hemp oil on food before i eat it , for cooking i use a mix of oat and brown rice milk , or for sauteing and stir fry I think you can use some kinds of salted wine or brandy with veggie broth to release the fat soluble flavors – alcohol generally dissolves all fat soluble substances , and evaporates on cooking .
    3. Hunger cravings can be suppressed by keeping a quarter or 1/8 teaspoon of salt under your tongue! The body craves not for fat , but for sodium and carbs. Fat cravings are an addiction that develops with time. A low sodium diet on normal individuals causes severe hunger pangs .
    4. Primitive societies eating a low fat, low meat, plant based diet , have better control on psychological stresses at work because they rarely do desk jobs with office politics, unpredictable work hours , the stress of keeping up with the joneses and prolonged bouts of sedentary work – so it needs to look beyond just food- urban stress cause comfort food cravings far more – so this is where salt , vitamin C etc will help. They have to deal with lower expectations of themselves, physical stress than psychological stress , and have better community bonds . Ever heard of the Greek nonagenarian who left his job in New York to go back to Crete , and got over his cancer ?
    5. Eat antioxidants/antioxidant rich veggies & fruits before food – Vit C, quercetin, anthocyanins etc , can reduce the impact of bad food- but not eliminate it. Dairy and animal protein impair .antioxidants or prevent its absorption – this is a key point on why to avoid those. So throw that blueberry yoghurt in the dumpster and opt for plain blueberries or make blueberry smoothie, if its too tart to drink , add a 1/8 teaspoon of salt – which cuts down perceived sourness of food, and unmasks the sweeter tastes !

  15. Mark Galanty says:

    Hi Debby,

    Been following Dr. Esselstyn for six (6) with amazing results. Diet is great, especially if you follow it as recommended, i.e. no oil, no meat, no dairy, etc. It doesn’t work if you try to do your own version of it.

    As others have said, the transition from meat to plant based is easier than you think, but the transition is amazing. The taste of food, the energy you gain. As soon as you cheat or go off the diet, you feel the ill effects of those foods. My taste buds have completely changed, and now no oil is the best. Each plant is like a wine, with unique flavors and smells.


  16. Hello

    I’m new to eating vegan. I had a mild heart attack and had a stent put in 8 weeks ago.
    In reading about this diet, I don’t see anything specific about peanut butter (technically a legume). I see the no nuts.
    Has anyone seen it discussed by Dr. Esselsty?
    Thank you

  17. Marilyn Patterson says:

    I have suffered from a gut yeast infection that has taken over my skin and my tongue…I cannot eat fruit,starchy vegetables or dairy that and I am allergic to yeast,corn,
    cashews,etc…how can this way of eating help me?
    I can eat anything out in front of me and it is aggravating that my husband cannot…I will be eating your recipes as my main course and give his share as a side…yeast killed my good friend because his Doctor refused to recognise it as a disease…the doctor just treated his symptoms…

    • Perhaps consulting with a holistic, integrative or plant-based medical professional may really help you solve these difficult issues. Many people find it very hard to figure out complex dietary problems on their own.

  18. Wikiwicks says:

    Hi Terry,

    Your post went unanswered over two years and I just found it today so here goes!

    “As nuts are a rich source of saturated fats, my preference is no nuts for heart disease patients. That also eliminates peanuts and peanut butter even though peanuts are officially a legume. For those with established heart disease to add more saturated fat that is in nuts is inappropriate. For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and are able to achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable. Chestnuts are the one nut, very low in fat, it is ok to eat.”


  19. Ilona McIntyre says:

    Is there any proof following this diet will alter my odds of heart attack or stroke since my LPa is 344 ?

    • Hi Ilona,
      We’re not doctors at Vegan American Princess, but we do feel that in so many proven cases, people can eat their way back to health, if they follow the right regimen.

  20. Darin Winebrenner says:

    Just found your blog. Thank you for sharing. I try to stay on Esselstyn, not absolute by any means, but my choices are always geared toward it when I can control it and when I can’t (eating out) I make the best choice available.


  1. […] of no-oil vegan cooking, I must mention that The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn will be in stores on September 2, 2014, but it’s also available for […]

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